Kulinarya: Makati’s Hidden Gem

Kulinarya Kitchen

G/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati

30 July 2012

We tried out Kulinarya Kitchen at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell. The friendly staff warmly ushered the group in; even if the restaurant has an upscale vibe, it manages to retain that familiar and welcoming vibe. I have to say I was surprisingly impressed by the food, their service and the overall dining experience. The owner welcomed us and introduced their menu, which was of an Asian and European fusion origin.

THE INTERIORS

The furnishings were in white, the tables and chairs contrasted the black chandeliers quite well; the interiors were quite impressive.

The walls of the restaurant were adorned with pictures and paintings of soothing images, depicting random subjects but exuded a calming effect, which further complemented the overall ambiance of the place.

The black chandeliers were quite exquisite — they provide that elegant touch to the interiors. They mix well with the other interior details like the yellow-striped pillars and the monochromatic furnishings.

I have focused on interiors in my reviews because they give establishments a certain character; this vibe often resonates with the patrons and defines the experience for their senses. A restaurant may have exemplary offerings but if the physical attributes and surroundings are sub par, it often takes away a part of the dining pleasure.

THE SERVICE

The service was excellent. The waiters were extremely polite and they often changed our plates after every serving. I have nothing but admiration for the service as they were trained to be attentive and cater to the every need of the diner.

Exceptional service must always be a benchmark for dining excellence; impolite and rude attendants must not be tolerated especially as they determine the mood for the diners. But in the case of Kulinarya, due to their exceptional staff, the dining experience was elevated to another level. Kudos to the staff for this.

APPETIZERS AND SALADS

We were first served with Iced Tea, of course it looked like every other Iced Tea but it tasted so good. I don’t know what they put in it but it had this refreshing taste, perhaps peppermint? It was not too sweet but had enough to make me remember its unique taste. I wouldn’t have written a paragraph this long if it was not good, trust me.

Seafood Salad Maki

Shrimp and crabstick salad rolled in nori, breaded and deep fried topped with ebiko, drizzled with wasabi vinaigrette, soy-balsamic reduction & mango coulis PhP215

This was a revelation. It was so good, I didn’t notice that we were eating so much until there were two left. It had this great maki taste but was deep fried, which locked in the flavor so well.

White Cheese Pizza

Mozzarella, parmesan, cream cheese and local kesong puti PhP295

The pizza then came in and it was good, I’m not much of a fan of cheese pizza, I prefer mine with a lot meat. It was decent enough and I appreciated it in spite of my apathy for this popular combination. If you are a cheese lover you would definitely like how it fuses the different kinds of cheese and results to a cheesy uniform taste, the kesong puti was exceptional.

Asian Buffalo Wings

6 pieces spiced chicken wings with a touch of Asian spices and honey cooked “Buffalo Style” with vegetable sticks and blue cheese dressing PhP250

With the proliferation of this snack/meal due to the popularity of Bonchon and Manang’s, the entry of Kulinarya can be rated as acceptable. I was expecting strong flavors and an over-the-top punch for this offering. The dip was good and the chicken was cooked well, but the Asian flavor was somewhat short of what I was used to with Buffalo Wings.

Fresh Mushroom Soup

A creamy soup with deep and earthy flavors PhP165

This was a letdown, it was not thick nor as flavorful as other mushroom soups from other restaurants. So far, this is the only one I did not like.

Crab and Mango Salad

Mixed greens, crabstick and mango with mayo, cilantro oil and soy-balsamic Solo PhP220 / Sharing PhP415

The one pictured is the solo portion and I have to say that it was good enough to share. I really liked how the salad tasted, it was like a symphony of flavors in my mouth. The kani and the lettuce leaves blended well and the dressing complemented all the flavors of this excellent salad.

Harvest Salad

Mixed greens, apples, grapes, feta cheese & nuts with Italian & balsamic vinaigrette Solo PhP 250 / Sharing PhP475

Yum! So far both salads has my seal of approval. I love the fruity taste and freshness of this salad. This is how salads should be done: refreshing, tasty and with that special crunch.

THE MAINS

U.S. Top Blade Steak

16oz U.S. top blade steak served with rustic mashed potato, buttered vegetables and red wine sauce PhP995

OMG! Ah!!! This was heaven for a carnivore like me. The USDA meat was succulent and juicy as the steak was cooked medium rare, you can see all its natural juices oozing out. Hay! I could eat this all week. The portion was huge, and it was too much for just the five of us in the table. It was noticeable that when this came, everyone was busy and enjoying it as much as I did. I think everyone ate what was on their plate and left nothing, that’s how good it was.

The Mashed Potato was good but not exceptional, it tasted like any other mashed potato but it goes well with the steak if you have anymore space left in your tummy.

Beef Salpicao

Beef tenderloin cutlets sautéed in olive oil, garlic and our special sauce. Served with rice or bread PhP350

The meat was very tender and melted in your mouth. This came after the Top Steak, so we had a beef overload but remembering how it was, I have to say that this Salpicao is a good version of the Spanish dish. Protein overload.

Grilled Asian Salmon

With stir-fried vegetables drizzled with oyster sauce glaze and lemon butter sauce PhP395

Well-cooked fish with that unique sweet and salty combination, it did not have that fishy taste and the lemon butter sauce perfectly complemented the salmon.

Gamberi Pasta

The original! Shrimps in spicy gambas sauce on herb pasta Solo PhP250 / Sharing PhP460

They were generous with the shrimps and the pasta sauce was great. If I had more space in my tummy, I would have finished the whole dish in a jiffy. I think this pasta dish and their iced tea would be great for a quick and filling meal at Kulinarya.

What was on my plate?

A mishmash of food, colors and taste. Kulinarya was a delight; I would have tried this one out if I had frequented the Power Plant Mall more. Everything in my plate disappeared in a few short seconds. Hehehe.

THE DESSERTS

The best way to end a meal is a great dessert. At Kulinarya, we were made to try out three tasty and sweet confections, developed in their kitchen and made by the chef-owner of this great restaurant.

Suman Latik Fritters and Mango Flambé

Crispy coated rice cake and flambéed fresh mangoes drizzled with sweet coco jam and served with vanilla ice cream. A modern twist to our local delicacy A must try! PhP180

This was the first dessert served and I liked it. I may not have been head over heels over it but I appreciated this revised take on our classic suman. The mangoes and the drizzling of coco jam went extremely well with the suman. I ate a lot I think.

Buco Pandan Panacotta

A Filipino dessert with an Italian twist! Layered with pandan gelatine and shredded young coconut drizzled with sweet cream PhP135

WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! My wife knows that I detest Buco Pandan. I just don’t like the combo. But this? I have to say out of everything that was served that evening, this is the one that I would come back to and order for myself. It was that GOOD! The best Buco Pandan I have ever tasted! Especially with the panacotta, it was a revelation that I will remember for a long time. The panacotta was made well, it did not have that grainy texture; it was as smooth as silk and the Buco Pandan topped it off beautifully. For this single dish, I have become a Buco Pandan convert, but in limited forms only especially if it was from Kulinarya.

Choco Lava Cake

A rich flourless chocolate cake with a molten truffle core. Served with vanilla ice cream and strawberry compote PhP160

To end this gastronomic journey, they served a chocolate lava cake. I liked it, my wife didn’t but I thought it was good enough to be considered for your next visit. We just had too much food that’s why we didn’t quite comprehend the taste of the cake. I’ll give it an A for effort and a B+ for taste and texture.

THE FINAL WORD

Carlo Mesina, owner and Khaezel, the event coordinator

The owner said that Kulinarya needs more exposure since they’ve been at Power Plant from the beginning. I was surprised that Kulinarya isn’t as popular as it should be. The food is delectable and the place is pleasant. People should go there more. You should try it; it’s a must.

Patricia Mesina, chef and co-owner with Khaezel

Wow! She’s a good chef. That’s all I have to say. I guess when you have the passion for cooking it shows through the food that you prepare. Thank you very much for the opportunity.

THE FINAL WORD

I would give Kulinarya a rating of 4 out of 5, excellent food, friendly staff and a cozy place to dine in; Kulinarya should be more popular than it currently is. Except for the mushroom soup, I love the food that they served. The USDA Top Steak and the Buco Pandan Panacotta are the standouts and is a must try for everyone. Tres magnifique! Kulinarya serves wonderful food that must be shared with friends and loved ones. If you’ve noticed, there are only a few establishments I’ve given a score of at least 4. Kulinarya deserves such a score and this hidden gem should be considered as one of the better dining places in the metro.

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7 thoughts on “Kulinarya: Makati’s Hidden Gem

  1. Thank you so much for a great blog and rating for Kulinarya Kitchen. We’re just happy that you enjoyed our food. I especially appreciate your comments on the ones that you did not like so we can improve on it. More power to manilafoodblog!

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